Library Evaluations: Community Involvement, On-going Improvement, Results!
Community Involvement, On-going Improvement,
• Good management is based on good decision making. Good
decision making depends on good information and an
action or strategic plan to move the library forward.
• Take a good look at your organization from all angles. You
will be able to you determine what works and what could
• A good evaluation is honest and brings a focus to the need
for a healthy, vibrant library in your community.
• The evaluation can be the launching point for a planned
change effort. It can motivate a sluggish board or staff, or
help a funder make better funding decisions.
Objectives and Goals
• The Librarian and Board communicate the goals for
the evaluation with the Evaluation Team.
• What do you want for your library?
• What does the community need the library to be?
• Uncover potential issues by involving key players
in evaluation- staff at all levels, patrons,
community members, library volunteers, Friends,
• Promote Evaluators learning about the library and
its performance. Widen their point of view.
• Mobilize stakeholders, enhance teamwork, and
build shared commitment to act on evaluation
Who to recruit
• A good evaluation is inclusive, complete, and unbiased.
Differing viewpoints are welcomed and valued.
• Use sensitive, impartial, experienced, and skilled people to
conduct the evaluation to get the best results.
• Evaluators should possess an understanding of the library
as an organization, industry knowledge, and building skills.
Ideally an assessment team will have at several members to
allow for a broader range of expertise and to complete
• Involving your community in the evaluation improves
credibility and increases awareness of the library’s
strengths and challenges.
Create a Culture of
• A critical ingredient for developing and maintaining
momentum within your library is the establishment of
a positive, productive image of the evaluation and its
use within your organization’s culture.
• Involve appropriate staff in the development of
• Have staff regularly review, discuss, and act on
• Board members and top leadership own and act on
the evaluation findings.
Accurate and complete
• Ensure that the Board and staff are committed to the
evaluation process and that they provide honest,
thoughtful information when queried.
• Select Evaluators who inspire confidence in your
community and assure impartiality throughout the
• Be transparent about what information will be shared,
with whom it will be shared, and how the findings will
be used to move the library forward.
• Parking and sidewalk
• Landscaping, bike rack, flagpole
• Outside walls and front door
• Building: hvac, safety systems, exits,
• Attractive, clean, clear
• Seating and flooring
• First impressions
• Shelf and materials organization and location:
Neat, clean, condition, logical flow, spine
labels, signage for collections and end panels
• Collection age: Technology, law, medicine,
• Outside and parking
• Doors outside and inside
• Clear handicapped route inside
• Drinking fountains and restrooms
• Stack aisles and furniture
• Do policies violate state law
• Are policies outdated
• Do policies have confusing wording
• Are any policies difficult to implement
• Do any policies seem overly restrictive
• Consider these policies:
• Selection/Collection Management
• Building/Meeting Room Use
• Confidentiality of Library Records
• Gifts and Donations
• Appropriate Use of Online Services
• Continuing Education
• Emergency Preparedness/Disaster Recovery
• Public Services
• Intellectual Freedom
• Budget and Finance
• Equipment Use
• Patron Behavior
• Capital Improvements
• Surplus Property
• Friendly and welcoming to youth
• Adequate space for storage and programming
• Furnishings: chairs, tables, shelving, seating
• Collaborates with local entities to provide
programs for youth
• Software up-to-date
• Working and clean peripherals
• Hard drives locked down
• Back up process and schedule for updating
• Furniture, printers, cables, networking
• Spreadsheets for librarians:
• Shelf Shuffler
• Collection Manager
• Data Collector
• Library Comparisons
Analyze the Findings
• Work with the Library Board and stakeholders to reach
a common understanding on findings, conclusions,
• The common understanding becomes the cornerstone
for a group commitment to a plan of action.
Prepare an action plan
• Work with the Library Board and other stakeholders to
prepare an action plan to improve where desired and
• This turns the evaluation and any possible weaknesses
into positive action steps.
• Librarians and Library Boards become agents of
change and apply their new knowledge into action
steps to improve the library on many levels.
• Building Condition Manual
• Conducting a Participatory Evaluation
• Create a Culture of Evaluation
• Six Keys to Successful Organizational Assessment